Some people say it is not advisable to do achamana facing west, so one should face north while doing evening Sandhyavandanam up to Navagruha Tarpanam and after that one should do facing west till Namaskaram and then finish Sandhyavandanam facing north. But some others say one can even do the entire Sandhayavandanam facing west. Which is true?

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    achamanam should not be performed facing west - reason being the upaveetam (poonol), which is on left shoulder, should not point south when doing achamanam during deiva karya. so for sayam sandhya, achamanam is done facing north. gayatri japam and upastanam should be done facing west (setting sun). for arghyam & tarpanam, there maybe some difference of opinion whether north or west, you can check with your house elders on their customs.
    – ram
    Sep 8, 2018 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


The book Nitya Karma Puja Prakash quotes the following verse from the Devi Bhagavatam, according to which, the evening Sandhya should be done facing the west.

enter image description here Pratah sandhyam sanakshtram madhyanhe madhya bhaskaram |
Sasuryam pashcimam sandhyam tistrah sandhya upasate ||

In evening as long as the stars don't rise in the sky one should worship Sandhya facing the west. In morning one should face east and worship till one can see the risen Sun.

But, irrespective of which direction you are facing while performing Sandhya, Achamana must always be done only while facing east or north.

Manu Smriti 2.61. He who knows the sacred law and seeks purity shall always perform the rite of sipping with water neither hot nor frothy, with the (prescribed) tirtha, in a lonely place, and turning to the east or to the north

If Achamana is performed facing west/south then that's considered an offence and a Prayaschitta is required.

The book "Dharma Bindu" (on page 32) have this Prayaschitta for an Achamana which is performed facing west:

Na bahurjaanuraachamet naasanasthona chotthitah,
Bhuktvaasanasthopya achaame anya kaale kadachana/
Naanteerayaika deshasya krutvaachavottareeya kam,
Aacchanna dakshinaam sastu naachaametthu kadaahana/
Vinaa yagjnopaveetena tathaadhoutena vaasanaa,
Muktvaa shikhaam vaachantena kritasvaiva punah kriya/
Yaabhya pratyagmu khatvena kritama - achamanam yadi,
Praayas- chityai tadaa kuryaat snaanamaachamanam kramaat/

‘Achamana’ is required to be performed without being seated or streching hands outside the knees. Only after bhojana, one can seated on a seat but not otherwise. Achamana should not be done with dhoti or the main garment and the upper garment together, or covering the right shoulder. Without yagnopaveeta and open up the tuft while performing ‘achamana’ is banned. Achamana should not be performed west faced and if so done prayaschitta or atonement is required by taking bath and perform ‘Punara-acham

So, after performing the rite of Achamana facing east or north, one has to change his direction accordingly.

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    Fabulous answer once again. And this time its recent too ;) Sep 10, 2018 at 10:32
  • Lol thanks.. but such comments can actually be deleted if someone flags them :) @Dr.VineetAggarwal
    – Rickross
    Sep 11, 2018 at 5:25
  • 1
    Haha doesn't matter as long as the appreciation reaches across ;) Sep 11, 2018 at 6:56

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